Coby V. Meyers

Associate Professor of Education ; PLE Chief of Research


  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2009
  • M.A., University of Kentucky, 2001
  • B.A., University of Kentucky, 2000

Coby Meyers is the Chief of Research of the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) and Associate Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Dr. Meyers' research focuses on understanding the role of school system leadership, especially in the context of improving low-performing schools. He studies how district and school leaders establish and advance conditions and policies in areas such as improvement planning and data use to initiate and sustain change in how districts and schools operate. Meyers has played integral roles in various school turnaround initiatives, an area in which he has presented and published frequently and currently leads an edited book series on the topic. He also considers how lessons from research and theory on organizational reform can inform educational system change, as well as how external providers and vendors influence how districts and schools operate.

Prior to joining the PLE in 2015, Dr. Meyers was a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR), where he managed AIR's work in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast and Islands. He also led beating-the-odds work for REL Midwest and REL Northeast and Islands that focused on identifying schools achieving at higher levels than expected and analyzing organizational factors that might be related to those achievement levels. He was also co-PI of the $2.5 million randomized controlled trial evaluation of the i3 eMINTS Validation Study and is a certified What Works Clearinghouse reviewer. After working as a middle and high school English language arts teacher, Meyers earned his doctoral degree in education leadership, policy, and organizations from Vanderbilt University.

Selected Publications


Meyers, C. V. (in press). District-led school turnaround: A case study of one district’s efforts to initiate multiple school turnarounds. Leadership & Policy in Schools. https://doi.org/10.1080/15700763.2019.1637902

Irby, D. J., Meyers, C. V., & Salisbury, J. D. (2020). Improving struggling schools by strategically connecting equity leadership and organizational improvement perspectives: Introduction to special issue. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 25(2), 101-106. https://doi.org/10.1080/10824669.2019.1704628

VanGronigen, B. A., & Meyers, C. V. (2020). Short-cycle school improvement planning as a potential organizational change lever: An analysis. Teachers College Record, 122(5). https://www.tcrecord.org/Issue.asp?volume=122&number=5&volyear=2020

Meyers, C. V., & VanGronigen, B. A. (2019). A lack of authentic school improvement plan development: Evidence of principal satisficing behavior. Journal of Educational Administration, 57(3), 261-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-09-2018-0154

VanGronigen, B. A., & Meyers, C. V. (2019). How state education agencies are administering school turnaround efforts: 15 years after No Child Left Behind. Educational Policy, 33(3), 423-452. https://doi.org/10.1177/0895904817691846

Meyers, C. V., & VanGronigen, B. V. (2018). So many educational providers, so little evidence. American Journal of Education, 125(1), 109-139. https://doi.org/10.1086/699823